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Rail Workers On Track With 68,000 New Ties

October 21, 1998|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

A crew of 70 Union Pacific Railroad workers, wearing bright orange vests and yellow hard hats, is working its way through Ventura County, replacing deteriorating railroad ties on track between Moorpark and Santa Barbara County's Goleta.

By the end of November, 68,000 ties, the narrow wooden beams that secure the rails, will have been replaced on more than 65 miles of track, said Dave P. Cary, a Union Pacific engineering supervisor, Tuesday.

"The other day, we had one gang that did 2,512 in 12 hours," Cary said. "Considering all the crossings in Ventura, that's a lot."

The crew is divided into two gangs of 35 men and women who work simultaneously on separate portions of track. Each gang uses 12 pieces of machinery, including spike pullers, tie extractors and tie cranes.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday October 22, 1998 Ventura County Edition Metro Part B Page 4 Zones Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Railroad ties--A story Wednesday misstated the time it took a Union Pacific Railroad crew to replace railroad ties in Ventura. Dave P. Cary, Union Pacific engineering supervisor, said the ties were replaced in 7 1/2 hours.

On Tuesday, Cary was with a gang that worked on track near Seacliff. The other gang was five miles south toward Ventura.

The line the crew is working on is called the Santa Barbara Subdivision and runs from Moorpark to San Luis Obispo. Traveling the track daily are Amtrak, Metrolink and freight trains.

The last time ties were replaced on the line was more than five years ago, Cary said. Ties need to be replaced after wear and tear from trains' speed and weight, as well as "lots of action by Mother Nature," Cary said.

Most cities and communities in the county experienced record-setting rainfall between July 1997 and June 1998. Flooding and mudslides were widespread between January and March.

The crew is averaging between 2,000 and 3,500 ties a day, Cary said. The gangs must work during windows of time when no trains are on the track.

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